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Commentary: The Business

Daniela Balzano: What’s In a Name?

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Something that can make or break your business, that’s what.


I thought that Linkedin had become glitchy after receiving a notification that Daniela Balzano was a recommended contact for my professional social network. I clicked on the name, and up came the face of another woman, Daniela Balzano, director of DeBeers Diamond Jewelers.

I was surprised. Born to an Italian father and Jewish mother in Italy, my parents had agreed upon my first name because it was common in both cultures, but less prevalent in the U.S.

After moving to the States and living my youth in Connecticut, I was proud of my unique name. There was never another Daniela on an elementary attendance sheet, no friends who shared my name. I was often complimented because of its uniqueness, and it made me feel good.

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I eventually reached out to Daniela, playfully telling her that I liked her name, which led to a back-and-forth dialog for a few days. We had a similar story, both mothers of two children, both large families, both involved with the jewelry industry. The conversation was lovely, the kind of themed dialog that I would imagine on public radio’s This American Life, and we ended by agreeing to someday meet up for a coffee.

I was left thinking about the power of a name. Words can be compelling, each carrying a unique weight and energy. Does a name or label set us on a specific path? Does it contribute to where we go and what we accomplish?

Ralph Lifshitz, who would later change his name to Ralph Lauren, is the connoisseur who transformed the way products are branded, demonstrated by his Polo brand, which has revolutionized global marketing. It all started with a name.

As we look at the jewelry industry, some names were preordained to succeed. Cartier, Coco Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels, Mikimoto, Kabana (OK, I’m biased here). They are strong and memorable.


As we look at the jewelry industry, some names were preordained to succeed.They are strong and memorable.


Some of my retail customers have named their stores using a traditional family name like R. A. Georgetti and Co. in Mystic, CT, and some have chosen the less conventional path and have based their title off of something more conceptual. Na HoKu, a national retail chain of 62 stores, is named using the Hawaiian term for “stars” or “a guiding light.” The concept of their name has been used in branding their stores with storefronts that are often adorned with tasteful torch-style lighting elements and a large name-bearing logo.

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Over the past 20 years, branding agencies have become more commonplace and are hired by businesses and start-ups to help develop company names. There seems to be four common denominators behind successful and recognizable names in branding. The name must be unique, promote a positive feeling or image, be short enough to quickly recognize and have visual appeal.

When it comes to the jewelry industry, whether a manufacturer or retail store, the name chosen will have the ability to intrigue the imagination and generate interest. It shares information about your business’s personality and history, it is a first impression, a focal point and a strong foundation for growth that will help ensure the ultimate success of your company.

Growing up with a name that I loved gave me a unique confidence as a child, and I’m sure in some small way contributed to a creative life path that has suited me well. If you have any doubt in the power of a name, there is another Daniela Balzano who would agree.


This particular Daniela Balzano ([email protected]) works as the East Coast executive representative for Kabana.

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